UPDATE, 12:35PM: Gabrielle Carteris has been elected SAG-AFTRA’s new Executive Vice President at the union’s convention today. The Beverly Hills, 90210 actress and former LA Local co-President beat NY Local president Mike Hodge and last-minute candidate Jane Austin for the powerful union position voted on by delegates. (UPDATE 4:13 – A total of 303 ballots were cast in the race say SAG-AFTRA. Carteris received 66.5% of the vote from the delegates while Hodge received 23.22% and Austin pulled 10.28%. In a separate vote, Hodge was elected to a National VP position along with 6 others) Recently elected National Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino was among those who spoke in favor of Carteris to the delegates. The result may not sit that well with union President Ken Howard, who threw his support very publicly behind Hodge. Carteris was endorsed by former SAG-AFTRA co-President Roberta Reardon. The convention continues until September 29 and will be followed by a two-day National Board meeting.
PREVIOUSLY, 8:25 AM: By the end of today, either Mike Hodge or Gabrielle Carteris will be SAG-AFTRA’s new Executive Vice President. The election to the influential position is one of the first items on the agenda for the more than 350 delegates at the union’s inaugural convention this week in LA, the first since the March 2012 merger. After a speech this morning by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka formally opens the September 26-29 gathering, EVP candidates will address the delegates. Soon after that, the voting will begin, with the announcement of a winner expected by early afternoon. In typical SAG-AFTRA manner, besides Trumka’s speech, it will all happen behind closed doors as the delegates choose an EVP and vote on seven separate constitutional amendments and more than 30 resolutions. The EVP vote is shaping up to be a coastal battle between NY Local President Hodge, who is backed by recently elected National President Ken Howard, and Beverly Hills, 90210 actress and former LA Local co-President Carteris, who is endorsed by former union co-president Roberta Reardon. The duo are the only announced candidates as of now, though several national VPs will be voted on as well Thursday.
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Delegates to the downtown LA convention were chosen in last month’s national and local election, also the first since the March 2012 merger. That race saw incumbent co-President Howard win big to become the first national president and Amy Aquino elected SAG-AFTRA’s first solo National Secretary-Treasurer. It also saw Reardon, who is now a National Board member narrowly losing her bid to become the president of the NY Local to incumbent Hodge. That loss effectively took Reardon out of the running for the national EVP position that she was widely assumed to also be seeking.
This week’s convention occurs with a financially impropriety lawsuit led by former SAG President Ed Asner grinding away in the background and anticipation over next year’s negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers for a follow up to the feature-primetime contract that ends next June. More in the immediate foreground is anger among some of the union’s 165,000 members over staff layoffs this spring and the closure of 10 of the 25 local offices and the long-festering, secretive and still incomplete melding of the SAG and AFTRA pension, health and retirement plans.
Potentially divisive amendments before the convention include the creating of local bank accounts — which the NY and LA Locals oppose and will kill — giving the Board the ability to make constitutional changes and a measure to get rid of the clause that lets the union collect fees for the processing of residuals, even though SAG-AFTRA actually doesn’t charge such a fee anyway. After the convention, the SAG-AFTRA National Board, including the new EVP, will meet on September 30 and October 1.